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Outcaste

Ellen Renner
"Zara is on a quest for revenge - but is she amongst friends, or the bitterest of enemies?"
Outcaste – picture

Zara is on a quest for revenge – but is she amongst friends, or the bitterest of enemies?

Fleeing from the dangerous and powerful mage society she has betrayed, Zara has taken refuge in the Maker city of Gengst, where she knows she will face persecution and death if her identity is uncovered. She must live without magic, and even though she can finally be with the man she loves, her new life is far from the utopia she had dreamt it would be.

As the Knowledge Seekers work together to build machines powerful enough to end the centuries-long war between the mages and the non-magical Makers, Zara finds her loyalties and love tested to breaking point. She must face the evil that is her heritage, uncover the truth behind the childhood tragedy that haunts her – and find the strength to believe in herself.

Publication Date: Thu 7 May 2015
ISBN Paperback: 9781471400650
ISBN Ebook: 9781471400667

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Author

Ellen Renner

Ellen Renner was born in the USA, but came to England in her twenties, married here, and now lives in an old house in Devon with her husband and son. Ellen originally trained as a painter and surrounds herself with sketches of her characters as she writes. She spins wool as well as stories, knitting and weaving when time allows. She plays the violin, fences (badly!) and collects teapots and motorcycles.

Her first book, CASTLE OF SHADOWS, won the Cornerstones Wow Factor Competition, the 2010 North East Book Award and was chosen for both THE INDEPENDENT and THE TIMES summer reading lists and, along with the sequel CITY OF THIEVES, was included on THE TIMES list of best children's books of 2010. TRIBUTE was Ellen's first YA book, and you can follow her at www.ellenrenner.com or on Twitter: @Ellen_Renner

Extract

'Here. Drink this at once! Your face is like chalk.' Quint is back, glaring at me. She's angry. And, with a shock, I realise that the apothecary is fond of me as an actual person - not just a subject of medical study! I'm so surprised I take the steaming mug of watery soup and drink it down. A few minutes later, the room starts to sway and blur. My eyelids close. 'You'll sleep now, silly girl.' The apothecary's smug voice is the last thing I hear. My father reaches out his hand - narrow-palmed, long fingered, with oddly opaque fingernails - and lifts his high adept between forefinger and thumb. It's a beautiful chess set: the pieces are carved from rosewood and ebony. Contemptuously, deliberately, Benedict slides his adept onto the square of my last remaining dragon. My father lifts his eyes to mine. Smiles at the horror in my face. He scoops up the dragon and holds it out to me on his open palm, but when I grab for it, Benedict dissolves the wood to dust. He scatters the sawdust over his shoulder, pulls a linen handkerchief from his pocket and wipes its starched whiteness over his palm. 'Well, Zara?' His smile fades. Panic rises in my chest. I cannot breathe. 'Well?' repeats my father. 'Haven't you learned? I will always win, Daughter. I will always destroy those you love. Give up: why suffer needlessly? Accept your fate. You belong to me: you are my blood, my bone, my future. Come home, Zara. Come home and love only me. Obey me, and I will forgive you.' His reptile's eyes are flat and cold. Their yellow discs grow into swirling suns, filling my vision, dragging me into their depths. My body grows heavy, useless, and I fall fall fall fall fall . . . Lurch upright, heart pounding. Gasping. Face damp with sweat. 'Zara?' A hand grips mine, warm, strong. 'It's all right. I'm here!' Aidan gathers me into his arms. As always, when we touch, his emotions flood through me. The warmth of his love stills my mind. My body shudders as the nightmare loosens its grip; I press my face into his shoulder. 'Your father?' There is a world of understanding in his tone. I nod into his shoulder, not lifting my head, not opening my eyes. I need the reality of his solid flesh, his smell, his touch. It keeps me here. Sane. Safe, for this moment.